Lessons Learned From a Short Trip

I previously published an article (June 26, 2014) entitled, “A Short Trip Back Home.”  In that post I talked about the fact that going away for a weekend took just about the same amount of preparation and packing of equipment as going away for a week. Now, I want to talk about “lessons learned” from that short trip.

I have to say that this trip back home was one of the most miserable we have taken in quite a long time.  Maybe that’s due to the fact that we have not tried a short trip since Lynn became restricted to the use of a wheelchair but I think it just speaks to the complications of taking trips. Why was it so much worse?  There are two possible reasons I think for the difficulty of this trip–the first being that Lynn is being detoxed very slowly for heavy metals. The detox process makes him VERY tired on top of the MS fatigue that is a constant in his life. Needless to say, I couldn’t count on him to help in any way with the process and because he didn’t have the energy to lift a finger, literally, he was more needy than usual and was unable to recover from traveling with just a night’s rest. The second reason was that when we go on vacation, usually, my daughter and son-in-law come over to help me pack up the van. That means I can continue to work on meeting Lynn’s needs while my son-in-law packs everything I have assembled into the van. This time I packed and had Lynn to care for all by myself.
Lessons Learned
Lesson 1:  Take two days off to get ready for the weekend trip instead of one.
I took the day off before the trip to make sure I would have everything ready to go and could get started on time. It’s a five hour trip, I wanted to get at least six hours of sleep before I left, and I wanted to be there no later than 5 p.m. because I wanted my best friend from school to come over to visit for a short time.  I had not seen her in MANY years and we were going to be staying just a mile or two from her home—perfect opportunity to catch up with each other, or so I thought.
Since I had to take his food with me and since I was not going to be home to do my weekend cooking for the coming week, I had to do quite a bit of cooking the day before we left. All this cooking is why I should have taken the extra day.  Between cooking and doing laundry, I wasn’t able to do much packing the night before.
Since I didn’t get to bed before 3 and wanted (needed) at least six hours of sleep to be able to stay awake to drive, I didn’t get up till 9 the next day. Our morning routine takes 3 hours so that brings us to noon.  It’s a 4 hour drive if we have no stops along the way so we maybe we could still make it to the hotel by five???
Lesson 2:  Don’t try to do it all yourself.
I put Lynn to bed to rest before the trip while I started packing. While he’s been detoxing he’s been taking a 1-2 hour nap each morning. I put in an indwelling catheter for the nap and trip and proceeded to pack the van.
As I looked at the magnitude of equipment and supplies that I needed to take, I realized I needed to take out the bench seat in the back of the van.  I managed to remove the bolt securing it to the floor of the van but then I could not figure out how to unlatch the seat from the floor.  There’s some type of safety hook in there that I could not figure out and with my weak arthritic hands, I couldn’t get it to come loose so I had to give up and screw the bolt back into place (many tears and words left best unsaid were involved at this stage) and just pack around it.  By now it’s around 2 p.m. (plus 4 hours for an arrival time past 5…maybe I can reschedule my get-together?)
I get Lynn up after I finish putting all the bags and suitcases in the van. I take care of his comfort needs and then I’m ready to load him into the van. Part of the floor space needed for him to maneuver into his place in the van is taken up by a shower chair and cooler of food. It appeared at first that I would have to unpack them but at last, he shifted back and forth enough to roll into place.  Of course, then I had to crawl around and lock down the wheelchair and all the other items so that nothing would shift during transit and smash us into unconsciousness as we traveled.  I managed several moves that would have made a contortionist proud.  At 3:30, we were finally on our way.
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A Short Trip Back Home

For the most part, Lynn and I are home bodies.  He just doesn’t handle traveling very well so we rarely leave home.  His already ever-present exhaustion is made significantly greater when he travels and it usually takes a full day to recover afterwards; therefore, we rarely do any short trips since he spends the time at our destination recovering.  Because of this fact and the fact that their home is not wheelchair accessible, I have not made the five-hour trip “home” to my parent’s house since around 2008.

I grew up in one of those rural areas where everyone knew everyone else and more than half of the neighbors were related in some way.  My cousins and I used to all get together annually for a family reunion; however, since Lynn developed MS, we haven’t attended.  I’ve really missed seeing them all and figured I would never see them again due to our travel issues, but my parents and brothers have come up with a plan for us to get together in a few weeks.  I’m really looking forward to seeing all my relatives but planning a short trip is as challenging as planning for a long one so I also dread it in many ways; especially since Lynn will not have a recovery day before he has to attend the reunion events.
In planning for this trip, my first order of business was to find a hotel nearby that was wheelchair accessible. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Many pronounce themselves to be handicap accessible but when you start asking questions, all “accessible” actually means is that they have handrails to use in the bathroom.  That is totally useless for my purposes because he couldn’t reach them anyway and he can’t transfer himself to the toilet so they serve no purpose.  Instead, my “search” criterion was for a roll-in shower.  I figured if a room included a roll-in shower, then the room planner might have a clue as to what was needed for someone confined to a wheelchair.
The first place I booked had the shower but the room had two double beds in it and the picture of the rooms looked really crowed.  Too much furniture in a room makes it nearly impossible for him to turn his wheelchair around so I began to look for something else.  The one I booked yesterday has a single king-size bed, a roll-in shower, a small refrigerator and a microwave in the room, and wide doors.  Mentioning the 32” doorway is a plus since that’s an indication they know what they’re talking about. I’m still a bit concerned because there was no actual picture of a handicap accessible room so I still wonder how much space there might be for him to turn around in.  I guess, if necessary, I can have maintenance move out furniture if I need more room for the wheelchair.
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Happy Birthday to Me!

T0day is my birthday.  I’m a grand ole 56 years young or old depending on which joint is aching and how much sleep I have had.  Usually, I do not pay much attention to birthdays.  My children are grown and no one is in the house but me and Lynn and he has no way to buy me a card or gift or anything so it’s just another day.  I get cards and emails and they are all fun and make me feel good but today….today was the best birthday I can ever remember having!!
First off, I went in to work.  Usually I work from home which means I juggle taking care of Lynn and doing my job–often a difficult balance at best and can be very frustrating to split thoughts/functions/ activities continuously throughout the day.  But today, I went into work so for most of the day, I only had one focus…  my job.  It was awesome.  I love having only one thing to focus on even though I had multiple issues to address there, it was one role.  My staff took me to lunch and I was treated to a wonderful fat cheese burger, with the works, and sweet potato fries.  Delicious!  I treated myself to a decadent mocha blended coffee; full of calories, and refreshing for my 15-minute walk from my office to my meeting.  I was outside in the fresh air, able to enjoy peace and quiet; not rushing to get back in the house before I got called to help Lynn in some way or to finish up something that was on a deadline.
I got several text messages with birthday greetings and some beautiful cards.  The cards this year were especially wonderful.  Each one made me feel so humble.  Several spoke to how special I was to the sender and how much they admired and appreciated me. It was so uplifting to have such sweet sentiment shared and to know they meant it. My brother and his family sent me flowers (which is no small thing since I live in the country).  But there was one present I received that words cannot fully express the impact it had on me.  It was truly the best, most awesome gift, I have ever received in my entire life.
It was a card.  Not just any card but a card that was a colleague of pictures of my extended family. My wonderful, thoughtful 81-year old Mom, cut out pictures of each member of my extended family, glued them to a card and introduced me to the family I have not seen since Lynn became unable to travel.Family pictures
I grew up with my Mom’s sisters and their children (my cousins) always around. We were all a very close family.  We all got along together and really, truly enjoyed each other’s company. My Mom had three sisters and from those sisters I had 13 cousins.  Each cousin has had children of their own, most of whom I have never met because I live five hours away and have not been able to go home for most of the family gatherings, even before Lynn was taken ill.  For various reason, I could not get there on the days or times that they were able to gather.  The last time I saw everyone was when my Grandmother died in 2000, thirteen years ago.  Since then Lynn’s condition has made it impossible for me to take him with me back to my family home because their house is not designed for access and Lynn doesn’t tolerate travel very well anyway.  The only travel we do now is once a year to vacation area with our children in a condo that is handicap accessible.
In my heart, I’ve known I would never see my “family” again.  I hear stories and see pictures but it’s groups co-mingled together and difficult for me to tell who’s who.  Well, no more! My Mom (what an angel) assembled a separate page for each family group.  Started at the top of the page with her sister and brother-in-law and then introduced each of their children (my cousins) with their children (my second cousins) in groups and sometimes their grandchildren as well.  I have just met each one and KNOW them. I see the family resemblance and it brings back so much love and longing for them.  I can’t stop crying tears of joy.
As a caregiver, you have to give up a lot.  It comes with the job that you have to make sacrifices that just can’t be helped in order to take care of the needs of your loved one.  I’ve accepted that and just don’t dwell on it.  It makes me sad that I can’t go to family reunions and I often fear the day when one of my precious relatives dies and I want to go pay my last respects, to be with our family in our grief, but know that I cannot do so because I have no way to meet Lynn’s needs nor anyone to stay there with him while I am gone.  I hope that if and when the times comes, I’ll be able to find a way but …who knows?  It’s just a sadness I carry in my heart over the loss of that family I loved so much. I’m not referring to my bothers and their families because they are wonderful about coming here so we can get together at least at Christmas but I’m referring to those childhood playmates that meant so much to me.
I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I got that card.  At first I was grinning so much my face hurt. Then I took it to show Lynn what a special present I had received and the tears started to flow… and then the sobbing… and all the longing for my family I’ve storied in my heart for years just came out.  I am still tearing up as I write this.  I miss them so much and I still love each and every one of them the same as the day I last saw them.
So, I learned today there is more than one way to visit and unexpected joys can come that touch your heart in ways you never expected. I have been so blessed today by so many people and am so humbled by the love that has been shared and given freely.  I am so, so blessed.
Happy birthday to me…

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Rush to RUSH

Lynn’s favorite band every is RUSH.  For years, him, his son, his son’s friends, and Lynn’s friends have bought tickets to their concert as soon as they went on sale and anxiously awaited the day they could see them live.  It used to be a fairly big production with a group of 5 or 6 guys spending the night at our house after the concert and reliving the experience while they blasted out RUSH songs as if the concert was still in progress.  He always wanted me to go with them but I am not a big fan of concerts and had rather listen to Christian rock or country music so I would just smile and decline.
He finally convinced me to go to RUSH’s 2010 concert.  By that time I had heard their songs so much that I had learned to appreciate their music, though not as much as Lynn did.  The concert that year was during the time that his health was starting to decline.  I remember the day of the concert his being so ill that I really did not want him to go; however, he stubbornly insisted.  We drove two hours to Jiffy Lube Amphitheater in northern Virginia and just left in time to get their before the concert started.  Lynn’s friend from his former job went with us and was going to sit with Lynn while I sat with the rest of the group many rows back.  I could not enjoy the concert at all.  Knowing how sick Lynn was, I constantly was looking for him and checking my phone to see if John needed my help.  At intermission I found them.  They had never made it inside.  Lynn felt too bad to be among the crowd.  I tried to get John, his friend, to go inside and let me stay with Lynn but he’s a very loyal friend, and choose to stay with us.  Shortly though I managed to convince Lynn that we needed to take him home and we left.  That was the beginning of a very long period of illness and hospitalization so for me, a RUSH concert did not bring forth pleasant memories.
Fast forward two years and guess who is back in town?  RUSH.  Guess who is going again?  Me and Lynn.  This time; however, I’m sitting with him and he’s feeling well enough to enjoy the show.  However, he is still fighting the fatigue and irritability that comes from getting adjusted to Rebif so the trip up was not as much fun as expected.  We took the van, of course, and I connected his peddlar to him so he could pedal all the way to northern Virginia but he just could not relax. 
About 45 minutes before show time, we got to the road leading to the entrance of Jiffy Lube park.  Traffic was not moving!  The concert was due to start at 7:30 and i took till 7:30 to move far enough ahead that we could pull into the entrance to the park.  To make matters worse, Lynn was convinced I was going the wrong way to handicapped parking and was “losing his cool” while I was losing mine in trying to maneuver through thousands of cars. (By the way, I was right about the direction I was going.)
We had left early enough to be able to eat a packed lunch I had brought just before the show…or so we thought.  Since we arrived right when the concert was due to start, we sped out of the van and toward our seats.  RUSH always does something unique for the beginning of their shows so Lynn was determined not to miss it and upset because he knew he would.  Well, we made it on time.  Our seats were as good as you could ask for considering he was in a wheelchair.  We were located between the cameras and sound equipment so no one could stand up in front of him!  Perfect! I could not see as well as he could but I didn’t care as long as he got to see the show.
Just as we got to our seats, the show started and Lynn began to relax.  Knowing though that he needed to eat, I got him comfortable and proceeded to pour him soup into the top of a thermos container.  I first poured the liquid and handed it to him to drink.  I should have known better but it was a small, light-weight cup so I thought he could handle it.  I was wrong.  As he took his first sip of hot onion soup, the full cup fell out of his hand and soaked his shirt….We just looked at each other and laughed. I asked him if it was warm enough and he said, “for now, but cooling off fast.”  Fortunately, I had brought in a blanket to help him stay warm because the temperature was supposed to drop to the 50’s that night.  So, since I did not have a spare shirt with me, I took the blanket, covered his legs and stuffed the rest of it under his shirt so that the wet shirt would be able to dry without touching him.  Then I proceeded to feed him his dinner, only this time, I held everything.  We probably looked rather comical. Here I was with a load of supplies feeding him soup from a thermos while a rock concert was blasting away and he’s covered with a blanket stuffed under his shirt. I kept thinking to myself, “a caregiver never takes a holiday or goes on break; you always have to be prepared for the ‘what if’s’ of life.”  
I finished feeding him dinner, got him comfortable again, and went in search of food myself. The rest of the concert was uneventful and enjoyable.  It was actually the first date we have had since he became immobile so it was nice to be out, with just the two of us and several thousand of our closest unknown companions.
When the concert ended, we waited for some of the traffic to head out and then loaded up for the trip back home. We were directed to leave by a different route than we came in.  So needless to say, we got lost. We started heading west to Fort Royal instead of east to Washington. Finally found out way back heading east to the 95-south connection and finally headed for home.  He was exhausted but content.  He fell asleep not long after we got on the road.  Other than a lengthy delay for construction, we made it back without issue.  I woke him up, got him inside and settled, then fixed our dinner (at 3 a.m.) and off to bed at 4.  He was very tired; as was I; but glad we made the trip.  He’s already planning for the 2014 tour!  I think next time I’ll pack finger foods and an extra shirt…..

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Going Out Isn't Easy

For most people, deciding to go somewhere is simply a matter of making the decision to go and then going.  For people who are mobilized through the power of a wheelchair, that process is a little more complex.
Lynn and I have not been to church since he was hospitalized almost two years ago.  He is now stronger and he is starting to adapt a bit better to the Rebif shots so we are considering trying to make a trip to church.  However, for us, that takes a lot of planning and foresight.
1.  What will he wear?  Lynn currently dresses for comfort and convenience.  Comfort related to the movement of limbs that need to be positioned, careful selection of where seams occur (since sitting on one for long periods when you cannot shift yourself is very uncomfortable), and something that is not binding, scratchy or constricting.  Usually he wears a long sleeve T-shirt and compression shorts with knee-high toe socks.  Not the most fashionable outfit but very comfortable and functional.  The other consideration is the ease for intermittent catheterization or if he’s using an indwelling foley, location of tubing and bag. Since he wears his same outfit to doctor’s appointments as he wears at home, he has not had on a pair of dress paints since PH (pre-hospitalization).  Does he have a pair that fits and could be comfortable for at least three hours?  Would they easily accommodate catheter needs?  That is yet to be determined.
2.  Bladder needs.  If we are making a trip to the store or doctor’s office, I take catheter supplies and cath him discreetly in the van or public restroom (if the location has a unisex and private restroom available.)  If we go to church, that’s an issue. He can’t leave in the middle of a service to be cathed; that would be disruptive.  However, he hates wearing an indwelling catheter in public with a tube leading to a bag of urine.  It’s embarrassing for him and it grosses some people out to see it–plus it makes him appear sick.  He isn’t sick; he’s mobility challenged, so to speak, but otherwise not ill. He doesn’t want those sympathetic, pity-type looks.  He wants to be viewed as whole and functional.  He doesn’t want to be written off as not being able to contribute or considered a subject of pity.  The urine bag represents that for him so it’s a struggle to make the decision to go somewhere like church with an indwelling catheter in place… though practically speaking, it’s the best option.
3.  Accessibility.  Can we get into the building and once inside navigate to where we need to go?  Before going anywhere, I usually like to do a dry run to look to see where the handicap parking is located, do they have ramps, elevators or stairs, etc. You would be surprised at the locations that you cannot access.  For example, we went to a lawyer’s office that had the required slope to the sidewalk so he could get to the front door; however, the slope was at the end of a sidewalk.  The sidewalk ran in from of parked cars.  On one side were cars and bumpers that extended over the sidewalk; on the other side was loose rocks used in landscaping and a significant dip off the sidewalk into the rock.  As he attempted to negotiate the sidewalk and move around the cars extending over the sidewalk into his path, his wheelchair wheels went over the edge and his chair very nearly toppled over into the rock.  I had to go inside and get the lawyer to help me lift him and his chair back onto the sidewalk.  Then we proceeded to the front door which was a good three inches above the sidewalk.  His chair can’t make it inside so we met in our van.  You would think a lawyer’s office would be better equipped. However, we are often surprised at who is not equipped.
Case in point–when we went to the Social Security Disability hearing in downtown Richmond.  I was amazed that there was no disabled parking available except down a step hill.  There was no curb slopping directly in front of the building.  I had to unload him and his wheelchair (that was before we got the wheelchair van and was using a manual chair) into mid-day traffic!  The entrance doors were not automatic and neither were the bathroom doors in the SS office!  Again, you would think a place that caters to the disabled would be better equipped!
Now back to my plan to go to church.  Our church is an old building.  It has an elevator but it’s small.  To get to the sanctuary, you enter the wheelchair into the elevator through a side door, then it goes up one floor, but the exit is at a 90 degree angle to the entrance door.  It’s nearly impossible to maneuver a manual wheelchair with a large man in it into the elevator and out the door one floor up.  There’s no way to get his powerchair in there with him in it due to the leg supports and foot pedals extending too far out.  So if we go to church, we will have to use a transport wheelchair.  The transport wheelchair is not designed to adjust in the ways he needs to remain comfortable sitting for an extended time.  I’ve considered putting him in the manual chair and trying to send the powerchair up without him in it but even with all limb supports tucked in close to the chair, I’m not sure we could maneuver the chair out of the elevator. If he’s uncomfortable, he will not be able to focus on the sermon or enjoy the fellowship so we have to take that into consideration.
4.  Finally, germs.  He’s very susceptible to infection.  He has an autoimmune condition, after all, so his immune system doesn’t function properly.  If he gets a cold, or heaven forbid, the flu or a GI virus, it could put him in the hospital and all he has gained since his last hospitalization could be lost again.  Therefore, once the cold weather sits in and people start spreading those nasty germs again due to being enclosed in crowded places, we will have to avoid public areas. I’ve jokingly told him I would put a plastic suit on him so he could shake hands and hug people but that might not be the most comfortable solution either.
So, we are not decided about going to church tomorrow.  If we can find clothes today, figure out the catheter question and get the backup plan in place for a wheelchair access, we might get there.  It would be nice to hear the choir and fellowship with the congregation.  We miss seeing them and being a part of worship but we are fortunate that if we can’t work out the process, we have the sermons online to fall back on.  Keep your fingers crossed that we will make it in!

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Short Trip but Major Planning

If you are a caregiver for someone who is totally dependent on you for everything, you know that there is no such thing as a “quick run” into anywhere when you take the person you are caring for with you.  Today, Lynn and I had an appointment with an attorney to sign our wills, power of attorney, and medical decision maker documents.  The location was approximately 35 minutes from our home so I estimated we would be gone two maybe two and a half hours.  I also planned to stop at the post-office, return something to the drug store, and stop at the bank.  Here’s how it went…..
The appointment was for 10:30 a.m. so we got up at 7:00 to get ready.  After cathing Lynn and arranging things within his reach, I went to put on clothes and prepare his morning supplements.  Then I returned to unstrap him from his peddlar, put on shoes, etc. and return to the kitchen where he took his supplements and exercised while I ate breakfast.  Then it’s into the bathroom for his morning routine, and to bed to rest while I checked messages at work between answering his calls for assistance.  Then getting him up, dressed, situated into his wheelchair, and groomed for the trip. As he’s waiting, I assemble his “bag” of supplies to go out….saline nose drops, Valium for spasticity, his cell phone, cold water with a straw, a smoothie for a snack, supplies for up to four catheterizations, getting what I needed for the post office, taking it to the van, cathing him one last time, getting the van ready,  securing him into the van and locking up the house. 
Then we’re off to the attorney’s office.  Almost there and he needs to be cathed.  Pull over and take care of that (if you’ve never cathed someone who is in a wheelchair while they’re in a van, you don’t know what you’re missing).  We get to the lawyer’s office, I find a place to park in the shade (it was supposed to be near 80 today) and go in to say, “we’re here.”  Lynn can’t go in because the building is not handicap accessible for wheelchairs (as we found out the hard way the last trip when his wheelchair got stuck in loose rocks when he drove off the sidewalk trying to maneuver around bumpers of cars).  Our lawyer is very nice and he gets everything ready and brings the papers and witnesses to Lynn in the van.  All’s well and we leave.
Next stop is the drugstore.  He stays in the car and I run in to return a mobility table that was supposed to be able to attach to his wheelchair which didn’t.  Fortunately that was a five-minute stop.  Back to the van and he needs to be cathed again but where we are is too public.  I’m craving caffeine so we go to Starbucks where I can park away from viewing eyes.  Another “in van” catheter experience.  Then coffee for me and tea for him after I help him get his smoothie for a snack and strap him in again so we can move on to our next stop. 
The next stop is the bank back near our house.  He needs to get out this time because we are setting up a new account by closing his business account.  That takes about 20 minutes plus we got a safe deposit box for the wills.  The bank was easy to access except doors had to be held for him to drive the wheelchair though since there were no automatic openers.   Back to the van, strap him back in again, and he needs to be cathed again.  I need spinach at Foodlion so we go to the far end of that parking lot, I cath him, again, run inside and return to realize the post office, which is our final stop, would be closed now for lunch. No matter, Lynn is exhausted by now and so we head home for me to feed him and hook him up to his peddlar to help him relax. 
I unload the car, set everything back up for his easy reach, run to the post office alone (which I must say is much easier and quicker alone) and get back in time to, yes, cath him again.  By now it’s 2:30 and I’m ready to begin my day at work….
It’s great to be able to get out of the house now using our van which makes the option to go places actually a possibility.  However, travel is no easy matter.  Supplies must be taken, nourishment must be considered, and comfort must be planned for.  Much like taking a small child somewhere, travel takes significant planning but somehow taking someone who is 6 ft tall and weighs close to 200 lbs is a bit more complicated than taking a 25 pound infant….

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I so want a wheelchair van!

When we went on vacation, I rented a wheelchair van thanks to the generous gift of one of our church members.  IT WAS AWESOME!  I was so spoiled by that van.

Lynn and I have a 2002 Impala.  When we go somewhere, I bodily list my 190 lbs husband from his wheelchair and set him into the car seat.  He cannot help very much with this process and what makes matters worse is that the way the passenger door opens, I have to swing his hind parts in toward me and then back into the seat.  Some days I barely have the energy to do that without dropping him–especially when he’s wiped out at the end of a long doctor’s appointment or isn’t feeling well.  Ever tried to lift and move 190 lbs of dead weight?  Let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.  Sometimes it takes me several attempts.  I almost get him on the seat and then feel myself slipping.  Many a time I have prayed to be able to move him without either of us getting hurt; and thankfully those prayers have been answered…so far.

For example, today, I took him to the doctor and was having trouble getting him out of the car at the office.  A kind visitor helped me, but she almost caused me to fall as I was swinging him out because I wasn’t expecting the load to be that much lighter.  Fortunately, I was able to stabilize my footing quick enough to sit him down in the portable wheelchair.  Then when I was putting him back in the car after the appointment, my foot slipped on a leaf.  Again I was lucky.  At home it was pouring rain as I got him out of the car, trying to keep his wheelchair dry and get him settled.  Needless to say, I got drenched, but we got inside without any mishaps.   Answered prayers!!

The fact that it’s so difficult to get Lynn into and out of a car has pretty much made us restricted to home except for doctor’s appointments.  We don’t go ANYWHERE.  We keep hoping his strength will improve enough that he can help with the transfers but it takes a long time to get your strength back after being in the hospital and he’s been in four times this past year!  I hear it takes a week to recover for every day in the hospital so it may be awhile…

But that wheelchair van….ahhh…he just drove himself right into it.  He could stay in his own comfortable power chair and just drive right in and right out without any problem.  Not only that!  when his leg started to spasm, I just pulled over and hooked up the peddler and kept him from being so miserable while we traveled.

When the Impala finally stops working, I’ll look for a van for my next vehicle.  Though I really want one now, I just can’t see taking on a large car payment when currently I don’t have any and our bills are already eating up most of our income.  I need to pay off a bit more debt and then….maybe, just maybe, I can find a good used handicap van that would suit our needs.  I worry about a used one because you just never know what you’re getting but …..we’ll see….

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that I don’t drop him on any of our doctor’s appointments.  I have one more this week so here’s praying all goes well.

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